Bottle Up Every Moment

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I was walking into the gym as a mom and her son were walking out. “Want to watch me run up the hill mama?” The Mom shook her head no and told him they had to hurry home. I wanted to sit the mom down and look her in eyes and tell her how fast the next few years would fly by. I wanted to tell her the disappointment she would feel 14 years from now when she had to beg her son just to stay in the same room with her for more than five minutes.

This is a reminder that today will be gone before you even get in a full inhale and exhale. Make time for the little things in your life right now because a week from now, a year and especially ten years from now you will wish you made more time for the things and especially people who matter more than anything else. Love your life, love yourself and love the hell out of your family. Take the extra minute to watch your children play. Watch their face light up every time you say yes to making them feel loved and important. Don’t miss your life…not a single second of it. Every moment is a gift. Take it in, bottle it up and be grateful for all you have.

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How Did I Miss It?

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I hardly recognize the boy who lives upstairs. As I lay here listening to the rain gently fall against my window I wonder how I missed it. When did they stop having to pry that boy from my arms when I would bring him to preschool? When did he stop walking up behind me scaring me half to death pretending he was a train whistle? When did he stop running up the driveway to get to the house when the bus would drop him off after school? When did I look up and notice he was so much taller than the day before? When did he stop texting for me from school and stop needing me to help with schoolwork? I spent so many years wanting him to be more independent, more mature… That day is here and I barely remember the in between. He turns 16 today. My heart is half broken because I know how each new year passes faster than the one before. I know how he will disconnect from home and start a life in the world on his own. I can’t see the little boy anymore. He is a young man and he gets his license in one more day. I see his wings excited to fly on their own. I see his confidence and the way he notices girls after school. I notice each fraction of an inch his pants get a little bit shorter. I see him now and I regret not paying more attention before. 16 years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Just yesterday I was a young mom with two small kids and today my heart is sad as I think about how fast they have grown. They have been my whole life, my greatest concern, the loves of my life, my reason to get this parenting thing right and although they are older, I realize that will never change. I hope once in a while they look back when they pull away. I hope they think about home and see a soft place to fall and know that my love will always be unconditional. I hope they find their place and shine proudly on their own while I watch from the sidelines and bask in their amazing light. Happy birthday to my not so little boy. Slow down. Time moves fast enough. Be happy. Embrace being 16 for this too shall also pass.

I Never Knew Parenting Would Grow Me

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19 years ago I imagined how amazing it would be to watch my daughter grow. I looked forward to having a little girl and dressing her up in fancy dresses and putting curls in her hair. I had no idea that this tiny baby was going to change my life in ways I never imagined. That tiny baby began to crawl and walk. She went off to school and learned to drive. This year she went off to college. She has been a blessing in so many ways. She has taught me to be myself without apology and to own every single part of myself. She has taught me never to hide in a corner or allow anyone to make me fell shame because of a mistake I made. She made me learn to continue to love and respect a person whose ideas do not match up with my own. She has taught me that my actions have consequences and if I want people to respect me then I too have to treat them with respect regardless of how frustrated or angry I may feel. She taught me to be silly and to appreciate someone who can break through the serious to make others laugh. She taught me that while I watched her grow, I too would grow right along with her. She is my heart and soul. She is my inspiration on the darkest days and a smile on my face that shines through the darkest pain. This little girl was chosen just for me, to change me in the most significant ways so I could be this person I am today. Happy birthday to my silly little Kayleigh who no matter how old she becomes, will always be my little girl. Happy birthday to my little groundhog who always rushes into everyday full speed ahead, excited about the future and never looking back to catch a glimpse of the shadow of who she used to be. You are beautifully you, truly unique in the most amazing ways. May this year be your best year yet. I love you more than you will ever know.

Time To Get Real

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The way I see it, we have a choice. We make the decision to look for the good in someone or we examine someone with a microscope to broadcast the bad. 

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conversation I had with my son. I was frustrated with him and I spent the whole ride home from school telling him all the ways he disappoints me. I was stopped mid-sentence when he interjected and said words that really made me think. “Do I do anything right mom?” My heart sank and I allowed myself to feel the very pain I was choosing to inflict on him. Who did I think I was that day? How would I feel if everyone wanted to have a conversation about everything I did that was disappointing. Didn’t I already know my flaws and feel bad enough without someone else pointing them out? 

The lesson is simple. Just turn on the news and watch this sad process in action. Basically, we get what we look for. We can look for and report the bad, the negative, the doom and gloom or we can seek out and celebrate the good. The problem isn’t always the person or the situation we are pointing our eager finger at. Often times, it is our own perception that is the biggest problem at all. Time to get real. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.

The Toughest Job of All

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the one thing that truly changed my life forever. There comes a point in time when you are completely transformed and there is no chance in you know what that you can ever go back to being the same as you were before. That day happened for me the moment I became completely responsible for someone else. The day I became a mom was amazing but I had no idea the significance of how my heart and mind would change. It would never completely belong to me anymore. How could it right? My children are an extension of me who bring connection and distraction too durable to ever break. I am haunted by my responsibility and elated at the same time. There is no feeling quite like it and no way to explain to someone who doesn’t understand. Responsibility changes you forever as does your never-ending love and concern for another human being maybe ever greater if not equal to the love you have for yourself. It’s a tough job but I wouldn’t trade it for a single thing in this amazing world. What do you think? How has being responsible for something or someone changed you?

When You Are The One Left Behind

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Tomorrow is the day I leave my heart four hours away. Only I could understand the emptiness that closet must have felt as we loaded her clothes into the car. My whole world packed into two trunks ready to drive her off to start a new life someplace else. It’s bitter sweet I guess. There is a part of me excited for the change about to come into her life but the mom in me, the part that kept her safe and protected for 18 years is breaking apart at the seams. My life as I have known it is disappearing in front of my eyes and I can almost hear my heart tearing apart.

 Love them and let them go. 

It sounds easy in theory but when you watch a room that was so full of her empty out, your heart can’t help but feel that emptiness too. Tomorrow I will leave her behind. Tomorrow I quietly wink at God and remind him she is in His hands now. I will pray that I did enough and loved her enough and that she is ready to step behind the wheel. Her life is her own now. Will she make the right choices? Will she be kind and compassionate? Will she be happy? Grateful? I can only hope when I feel sad that I will remember her like I see her today…excited, full of life, her face sprouting a gigantic smile as she holds her new Bluetooth water bottle in her hand and dances around. She is my baby going off to college, that same little girl with light and adventure bursting from her eyes, ready to explore the next thing in her path. This time though I have to have the strength and courage to let her do it alone. She will always know where to find me and I will sit quietly waiting for her to return. 

Find Your Own Balance

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It’s very hot here today. Earlier I found myself floating in the pool thinking there was nowhere else I would rather be. It’s taken me several years but slowly and surely I have learned to relax. In this fast paced, busy world so many of us struggle to find a way to relax. Feeling calm and allowing ourselves to rest have become a thing of the past. I read Facebook posts about friends spending the entire weekend running from one sporting event to another and I cringe at the thought. Some have every week of the summer planned out but for me and my family, summer is a time to recover and rest. The day doesn’t have to be jammed with activities for life to be meaningful. All these activities and ridiculous things we tell ourselves we have to do are just things. Peace of mind and a moment to just breathe will be much more beneficial than a schedule that leaves us feeling drained and exhausted. It’s almost as if the notion of balance has been lost. I’ve been chasing it my entire life and I’ve worked hard to find out what that means for me. So today, find the balance you need. Learn to say no to the things that don’t really matter and yes to the things that do. You may think those decisions are impossible to make but you have way more control than you think.